The Centre for Contemporary Studies (CCS) was set up as an advanced study unit of the NMML in 1990. It was established for the promotion of research on modern Indian history and contemporary studies. It offers three levels of research fellowships -Junior Fellow, Fellow and Senior Fellow to scholars engaged in advanced research. The four research areas in which fellowships are granted are ‘India: Recent Historical Trends and Developments’, ‘India in Transition: Issues and Challenges’, ‘India and the Wider World’ and ‘Governance and Statecraft: Past and Present. It also runs fellowships like 'Atal Bihari Vajpayee Fellowship' and 'Academic Research Translation and Book Writing Fellowship'.
The Centre regularly conducts academic activities such as seminars, public lectures, conferences, book discussions, panel discussions, workshops, etc. It also provides research affiliation to scholars who have been awarded fellowships by other organizations like the University Grants Commission (UGC), the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) and other similar organizations. The Centre has collaborated with the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) whereby it provides research affiliations to scholars from various universities of the United States of America.